Active Directory (AD) has proven itself time and time again as one of the leading directory services for managing users and computers within large networks. It was first released in Windows 2000, in the year 2000. Before then, it was common to use solutions such as Novell Directory Services or Netware Directory Services, Novell lead the market place for almost 10 years, first being introduced in 1993.
Microsoft has had the ability, with Windows Server, to take serious market share and to truly dominate the space, leading the direction of directory services and creating the new technologies that own the space. Today, AD is being integrated with website applications as well. The goal to get all website applications integrated in AD, with .NET compatible technologies. Federation Services have expanded AD usability (AD FS 2.0), allowing federations between several AD sources to grant access to various parties on the web, and via integrated security systems.
That was just a brief on what was AD, where it came from, and where it’s going. What’s exciting is that Samba v4.0, which was just now released today: https://www.samba.org/samba/news/releases/4.0.0.html, will be supporting Active Directory and Microsoft integration without the need for a Microsoft machine, Microsoft software, or even better, paying money. This is a major piece of news as many companies feel reliant on Windows workstations, they may now be able to get away with their Linux servers, hosting Samba v4.0, also hosting their directory services and still being completely compatible.
This will be the first free software, which is an Active Directory Compatible Server. It was created using nothing but Microsoft documentation. It integrates completely into existing directory services, so in essence, you can probably take a current AD server and replace it with Samba v4.0. It has been thoroughly tested, providing secure, stable, and high performance environments. And the best thing of all, the source code is completely available.
There is a lot that can be said for open source software. It has it’s ups and downs. For one thing, support may be restricted to the community, which means the size of the community truly determines the amount of support you can get. Microsoft, you can pay for assistance and the technology is proven.
Anyways, I love this news. I would love to try it out. We will see… who knows.